Here’s a kind of broad theme for this week:
Wisdom is pattern recognition. You can learn about the pattern from a book, but you can’t learn to recognize it in the world, and act on it rightly, without actually seeing it in the world—repeatedly and in different ways.
So many men have one foot hovering over the gas and the other tapping the brake.
Because they’re afraid they’ll be successful, and then everyone will find out they’re a fraud.
Get over it.
Few men measure up to the hype—but even fewer step up to the plate.
Put your pedal to the metal. Work unto the Lord. His opinion of you is the only one that matters, and he already knows you’re a fraud. He chooses the weak and foolish to magnify his strength and wisdom.
To live is Christ, to die gain. Act like it.
The Church needs to get its swagger back.
They can’t stop us. This is hard to internalize, but if they persecute you and make you suffer, they conform you closer to the image of Christ (1 Peter 1; Romans 5:2-5); if they kill you, they transform you into the image of Christ (1 John 3:2).
They are literally impotent to do anything except God’s purpose for you.
Stop fearing them.
Don’t go offline or camp out in some little right-wing ghetto app (Parler etc). Stay active on the main platforms.
But also work at expanding and backing up your online network in the real world—offline. Big Tech absolutely will cancel, censor, and silence anyone that speaks against the zeitgeist. We’re seeing that right now with the election, and it is only picking up steam.
Build an analog library, or a collection of downloaded files that you control. Make sure you have your important books, documents, music, in a place and format that you own. Go DRM free. Big Tech can and will delete works that undermine their plans or speak against the zeitgeist. Look at history. Book burnings are a natural part of spiritual warfare and religious revolution. Indeed, book burnings are a good thing if the books you’re burning are wicked (Acts 19:19). What we’re facing now has happened before in similar ways throughout the centuries—repeatedly. Look for the patterns. Just because it’s the 21st century Western world doesn’t mean the patterns change. Every culture thinks they’re special, but God is a God of order, and he is no respecter of persons.
That said, technology does affect how the patterns play out in history. So the internet, for instance, amplifies the ability to eliminate dangerous content by a million percent. Digital book burning is already an issue in the form of censorship on YouTube and Twitter etc—so if you think that Amazon someday won’t start deleting books off your kindle, you aren’t paying enough attention.
Some of the cardinal duties of a man that we identify in our book (coming next year) are planning and guarding.
You can’t fight a culture war without a culture. Don’t let them delete it.
But realize that culture doesn’t primarily exist online. The internet is more like hyperspace. You still need a planet to build a civilization. So focus on finding a real community that is a “winnable and worthwhile hill:” a place that is small enough for you to gain influence, but large or strategic enough to have some cultural, economic, and/or political significance.
Ask, “could this town/county become a city-state?” If it could, put down roots. Get to know your neighbors. Share meals, build trust, and learn to enjoy each other. And then look for ways to improve your community that builds a coalition around the common good. Make yourself a central part of that work.
In other words, be a community leader.
Purchase local whenever possible and reasonable. Open a business in your town. Buy and rehab old buildings on main street. Encourage others to do the same. Strengthen the local economy and make it attractive to likeminded men.
Run for any and all local offices, and encourage all likeminded community members to do the same. You want your neighbors (the ones you’ve grown tight with) to be the department of health official, the sheriff, the head of polling, etc.
Belong to a church in your actual community. Be willing to compromise on some secondary issues if it means being in a more local congregation. If there isn’t a single good church, help one get started.
Work, play, and worship together. Get deeply invested locally.
The garrison that sounds a parley is not far from being surrendered. —Matthew Henry
Here’s an excellent sermon from Michael Spangler, “We Cannot But Speak.”
One of several money quotes:
In every day and age, there is a consistent message that the wicked have for the righteous, and it is this: “Shut up, stop speaking.” Thankfully, by God’s grace, the consistent message of the righteous in response is, No. We will not."
Truth tellers and trailblazers are at first mocked, and then later celebrated.
Crowd pleasers and compromisers are at first celebrated, and then later mocked.
But there’s a flip side.
Don’t trust people who need to get the last word. Especially you.
Make it a habit to let other people have the last word instead of you. It’ll do wonders for your relationships.
It will increase your respectability in the eyes of most.
It will definitely keep you from wasting time on going-nowhere arguments, which is an easy way for the Enemy to tempt us into spending our strength ineffectually.
Most importantly, it will force you to reflect on why it bothers you to let someone have the last word in the first place. This will have two effects:
- You’ll be able to repent of pride and vanity;
- You’ll become much more accurate at identifying the fights that are really worth winning.
In a new episode of our podcast, Michael tackles how the phrases “man up” or “be a man” are used to shame men into effeminacy. They are really telling you to “beta up!”
And following up on our notes last week, here are some thoughts on how to upend the lords of niceness in the church:
A crucial job as a father is reproving your sons when they whine, “I can’t do it.” Tell your boys, “I don’t give you tasks you can’t do. I gave you this one to challenge you, not to defeat you. <Surname>s can fail, but they don’t fail in advance. Men become men by doing hard things.”
Talk again next week
Michael & Bnonn